Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food
Why a CSA is such a good idea.
We always thought we'd be farmers' market farmers. When we lived in the city, our Saturday morning trip to the farmers' market was an almost religious part of the week. Then, when it came time to start our farm, we realized how difficult it is to get a spot in one of the good farmers' markets in our area. So instead, we decided to sell our food through a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture.
70 families signed up for a membership to our CSA this year. I like to think of our members as investors in the farm, paying for their shares in the winter or early spring, which gives us money for seeds and other supplies we need to get the season started. In return, for 30 weeks, from April to November, we deliver a box of our best vegetables to a convenient location in members' neighborhoods. We also send out a weekly newsletter with updates and pictures from the farm, plus loads of recipes and cooking advice. For this week's shares, we packed carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, summer squash, basil, and lettuce.
In an age of online grocery shopping and boxed meal kits, Community Supported Agriculture stands out as a way for a farmer and an eater to have a personal relationship. When you sign up for a share, you become a part of our farm. When Gordon and I buy seeds, plant and harvest, or wrestle with crop planning spreadsheets, we're thinking about our CSA members. We love knowing the people we're growing for, and we have a hunch our members love knowing who grew their food. As one CSA member said at the first pickup this spring, "Opening my box feels like coming home."
We're endlessly grateful to our members for choosing to be a part of Ten Mothers Farm. It's directly because of their support that we're able to keep farming, building our soil, and growing good food for our community. Farming is often incredibly frustrating work, and I'm certain that we'd never be able to keep at it if it wasn't for the respect, care, and love we feel from our members.
I may be biased, but joining a CSA is possibly the very best way to eat lots of delicious vegetables, deepen your relationship to food and the land, and directly support farmers. If you live nearby, join our waitlist for next year's CSA. If you live elsewhere, find a CSA in your community and ask if they have room for a new member.
Follow Vera and Gordon's growing season-they'll be sharing their stories with us every Thursday here on marthastewart.com.